HALIFAX - As long as he can remember, Cameron Dopler has wanted to be a United States marine. Last year, with the U.S. military facing a manpower crunch due to its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 19-year-old Nova Scotian figured the time was ripe to enlist.
But after six months of pleading with American military and immigration officials to let him join, Dopler has been turned down -- notwithstanding his willingness to help the war effort in Iraq -- because Canadian citizens can't serve in the U.S. military.
"Here's the Americans, low on manpower ... and here I come, a Canadian wanting to join, and they turn me away," he says.
"It doesn't make sense."
More than 200 American soldiers have fled to Canada in recent years to avoid being sent to Iraq. Last week, deserter Darrel Anderson returned to Kentucky to face disciplinary action for seeking refuge in Canada to avoid a second tour in Iraq.
Dopler is a rare example of the opposite phenomenon -- a Canadian eager to fight with U.S. forces in Iraq or Afghanistan, motivated in his case by the path of his American grandfather, a U.S. naval veteran who served in Korea and Vietnam.
"I'm not asking for much, just to be given the chance to serve, like my grandfather did before me, and so many others, including the thousands killed in the war on terror," he says.
After finishing high school last year in Halifax, Dopler travelled to Oklahoma to live with his grandfather and enlist. He says he was welcomed by a recruiting sergeant, but told he needed U.S. citizenship to sign up.
Dopler's mother is a dual Canadian-U.S. citizen. She was born on the now-defunct American naval base in Argentia, Nfld., when Dopler's grandfather was based there in the 1960s, but because she hasn't lived on U.S. soil since she was a child, Dopler can't claim American citizenship through her.
U.S. marines rebuff Canadian applicant
Here's an article of a Canadian - Cameron Dopler from Nova Scotia - who tried enlisting in the USMC but got turned down. This article came out about 2 years ago in 2006.